Ithaca Dragon Boats
Every so often as I’m hurrying home across the Cayuga Lake inlet I’d see the strange boats – from the corner of my eye I thought I saw a dragon?? Never thought a lot about it as I was in a hurry to get home and there are often rowing teams, kayakers, and all sorts of man-powered water craft working out in the inlet. Until one day we were taking my mom out for lunch and there were all these people around – they can’t possibly all be going to the restaurant, can they? Turns out they were all going to the Dragon Boat Festival!
This year I actually attended the Ithaca Dragon Boat Festival. While I don’t really understand all of the rules – there were a lot of different heats and several of the boats had to run back to back races – I can tell you that there are 20 rowers in a boat, along with one person on the rudder, and one person keeping time on the drum. It’s very important that the rowers and the drummer are in perfect unison – this gives the boat the best chance of winning. Boats were in Ithaca from all over the Northeast – New York City, Baltimore, Vermont to name a few that I saw. And there were several local Dragon Boat hobbyists as well.
I was fortunate enough to find a place right near the finish line to watch. There were a lot of very tight finishes – less than a second separated the boats. That’s the Ithaca Farmer’s Market on the opposite shore – best Farmers Market ever!
The festival took place at Cass Park, which is a popular put in spot for kayakers – seems like they maybe had the best seat in the house!
The weather was fabulous and while I only stayed about 1.5 hours and didn’t actually attend any of the festival tents/exhibits, I still had a really good time. Will definitely keep this in mind as something fun to do in future years!!